Mindfulness is a hot topic in the world of psychology.
It’s even been called “the next big public health revolution.”
But what does it mean to be mindful? And how can mindfulness help us with our mental, emotional, and physical well-being?
In this blog post, we’ll explore the merits of mindfulness through science-backed research that will show you why you should consider incorporating it into your lifestyle.
What the research has to say about mindfulness
1. Mindfulness, Stress, and Depression
A recent study from the University of Miami found that mindfulness training helped to reduce stress and depressive symptoms in college students.
Participants showed significant improvements on measures of self-compassion, rumination, depression, anxiety, and perceived stress after just a few short weeks (Shahar et al., 2016).
2. Can Prevent Relapse of Depression
Another important finding is mindfulness can also help to lower the risk of relapse in those who suffer from major depressive disorder.
A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was effective at reducing depression and preventing relapse/recurrence among individuals who had been diagnosed with recurrent depression over a period of two years (Segal et al., 2013).
3. Mindfulness For a Better Sleep
Studies have also indicated that mindfulness may help to improve sleep quality.
A study conducted at the University of Utah found those who had difficulty sleeping saw significant improvements after just a few short weeks of participating in an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. At the end of their treatment, participants reported fewer sleep problems, better sleep quality, and higher self-esteem (Khumarani et al., 2014).
4. Biological benefits of mindfulness
Many studies have also found that practicing mindfulness can help to improve your physiological well-being by reducing stress hormones like cortisol.
Mindfulness has even been linked with increased gray matter density in the brain which may lead to improved cognitive function.
It’s also been linked with lower blood pressure, improved immune system, and reduced inflammation (Davidson et al., 2003; Davidson et al., 2003).
Mindfulness In Every Day Life
Mindfulness isn’t just for hippies. Today it’s being adopted more and more as a practical every day tool.
The practice is simple, and you can start by simply being aware of your breath.
If thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them without judgment and return to focusing on the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out.
The research surrounding mindfulness is still relatively new but there’s no doubt about it- practicing mindfulness really pays off!
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can incorporate this simple, yet highly effective tool into your everyday life visit our Mindfulness page for resources, videos, and more.